Arts Review, Station Blog
Avengers: Infinity War
A review by Marc Glassman
Anthony and Joe Russo, directors
Christopher Markus, script with 15 other collaborators
Technical and digital work: 1000 people at least
Starring: Josh Bolin (Thanes) Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hems worth (Thor), Tom Huddleston (Loki), Mark Buffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Don Chile (War Machine), Benedict Cumber batch (Doctor Strange), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spiderman), Chadwick Bozeman (T’Chala/Black Panther), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Paul Bettany (Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Peter Dinklage (Eitri), Benedict Wong (Wong), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Vin Diesel (Groot’s voice), Bradley Cooper (Rocket’s voice)
The embargo is over so the millions of people around the world who have been waiting for this new screen epic know what’s happening in Avengers: Infinity Wars. Let’s clear the plot up immediately. Thanos, the ultimate bad guy, wants to take over the universe by possessing all six of the awesomely powerful infinity rings. Once he gets them all, he’ll be able to control everything: time, space, power, you name it.
In the first scene of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos is fighting with a group of Avengers. No one can beat him—not Thor nor Loki or The Hulk. The audience realizes immediately that something amazing must happen if Thanos is to be beaten.
Over the course of the next two plus hours, a huge contingent of heroes and heroines try to beat Thanos including Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Vision, Spiderman, Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange and the Black Panther. They fail and so does Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora. In the end, Thanos achieves his goal: to decimate half of the universe so that the remaining half won’t run out of life’s necessities and continue to flourish. Among the dead are at least half of this film’s heroes and heroines.
But will that truly happen in Marvel’s Cosmic Universe? It seems unlikely that half of Marvel’s key franchise character have been sacrificed for one movie. Well, viewers, you’ll have to wait over a year—perhaps two—until the final edition of this Avengers series is released. That’s when we’ll discover what the powers-that-be at Marvel/DC/Pixar/Disney have decided to do.
In the meantime, here are some thoughts:
1, The film is structured like a 19th century novel by Dumas or Sir Walter Scott. Books written by those classic authors (and others in the swashbuckler style) operate by counterpoint. A group or an individual is left hanging a precipice at the end of a chapter. We’re left waiting to find out what has happened to them for at least one more chapter as we follow another group or individual on their adventures—and are left hanging on yet another precipice.
That’s clearly the structure for Avengers: Infinity War. We follow Thor and some of the Guardians of the Galaxy in one group; Iron Man, Spiderman and Doctor Strange in another; Vision and Scarlet Witch as a threatened duo in another plot line, etc.
2. The villain has one Achilles’ heel, either a love for a child or a partner. At some point near the conclusion, a choice has to be made between that love and the goal that the “bad person” is pursuing.
That happens here between Thanos and Gamora, his beloved stepdaughter.
3. The entire story is essentially a quest. Someone—or more likely, many people—want something so badly that they’ll do anything to get it. As filmgoers or readers or lovers of opera, we’re addicted to watching (and enjoying) characters so engaged in their quest that nothing can impede their journey.
Certainly that’s the story of Thanos in this film.
4. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
In these epics, the villain is so powerful that it seems impossible to defeat him (or her). But the hero (or heroine) is pure of heart or imbued with a sense of idealism despite previous moments of weakness and cynicism. Against all odds, the villain is somehow defeated.
We won’t know this until the follow up to Avengers: Infinity War in another year or two.
Until then, good luck!
Written by Marc Glassman
Adjunct Professor, Ryerson University
Director, Pages UnBound: the festival and series
Editor, POV Magazine
Editor, Montage Magazine
Film Critic, The New Classical FM
Film programmer, Planet in Focus
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